Eastern Illinois scored three times in the first half on its way to a 4-0 victory over Valparaiso Sunday afternoon in Charleston, Ill.
“This was a tough day for us,” said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. “This is the third time this year we’ve come out poorly on a Sunday afternoon match, and as coach, I have to take responsibility for that. We need to figure out a way to start these games better so we can get better results, because giving up three early goals to a team as good as Eastern Illinois is not the way to win.”
The Panthers struck on their first opportunity of the match, as Brad Peters found the back of the net just 40 seconds into the game on a quick strike after a restart. Peters would add an insurance goal in the 13th minute, beating Crusader goaltender Ryan Schwarz (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) from 10 yards out. Eastern Illinois got a goal from Darby Kehoe in the 32nd minute and its final tally from Mick Galeski in the 55th minute.
Zack Stivers (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) led the Crusaders offensively, taking five shots and putting two on frame. Valpo attempted 12 shots on the match, four of which were on goal, versus 11 shots and six shots on goal from Eastern Illinois (8-2-2). Schwarz made two saves playing 68 minutes, while Sean McGinnis (Chicago, Ill./Barrington) did not allow a goal in his 22 minutes of action.
“The positive side of today is that we got a lot of backup players a lot of playing time, and at times, they were playing some of the best soccer we’ve played all year,” said Avery. “We have a lot of depth, and it showed itself quite well at points today. We have to go back to the drawing board, look at what we have and who should be playing where, so we can be the best team possible.”
Valparaiso (3-7-2) has a quick turnaround back to the pitch, as the Crusaders travel to Western Michigan to take on the Broncos Tuesday afternoon. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. CDT.